uncle

Rest in peace, Roderick Taylor Jr.

My uncle, my father’s half-brother, passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Roderick Taylor Jr., a retired teacher, was well-known for his encouragement and mentorship of generations of students, who called him “Chief,” and his tireless community activism.



A classroom at the Colored Graded School (later Sallie Barbour School), circa 1935. Roderick Taylor Jr. is at center in a dark sweater.

Everyone else called him “Bud.”

Roderick Taylor Jr. was born in April 1928 in Wilson, North Carolina, the youngest of Roderick Taylor Sr. and Mary John Pender Taylor‘s three children. He graduated from C.H. Darden High School in 1947 and graduated from Johnson C. Smith University.


Part of the freshman class at Johnson C. Smith University in 1949. Bud Taylor is kneeling in the front row. Catherine A. Gibson stands over his shoulder in a black peacoat.

J.C. Smith’s Spanish Club, 1949.

Roderick Taylor Jr. and Catherine Augusta Gibson were married 20 June 1954 in Brunswick, Georgia.

Pittsburgh Courier, 10 July 1954.
Wilson Daily Times, 28 December 1998.
Roderick Taylor on his Faison Street porch, 2017.

Top photo in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson (colorized via MyHeritage.com; The Bull (1949), yearbook of Johnson C. Smith University; bottom photo by Lisa Y. Henderson.